NEC provides vector supercomputer with the world’s fastest core performance – Nov 15, 2013– Tokyo, Japan (Techreleased) – NEC Corporation has announced the worldwide availability of the SX-ACE supercomputer, the latest model in NEC’s SX Series of vector supercomputers, featuring the fastest processor core performance in the world.

NEC SX-ACE Supercomputer
NEC SX-ACE Supercomputer

The SX-ACE is the first SX Series supercomputer equipped with a multi-core vector CPU, which enables the world’s fastest core performance (Note 1) and the world’s highest memory bandwidth per core (Note 2). Its performance per rack has improved ten times over existing SX-9 models, and it offers high sustained performance and ease of use in scientific computing applications. Furthermore, using NEC’s leading edge LSI technology, a high-density design, and high-efficiency cooling technology, the SX-ACE reduces power consumption to one-tenth and requires one-fifth the floor space of existing SX-9 models.

Vector supercomputers are especially suited to high-speed processing of large-scale data and to scientific computations. They have achieved high-application performance in various simulations—for weather forecasting, analysis of global environmental trends, fluid analysis, nanotechnology, development of new materials, etc. In these fields, the NEC SX Series has achieved cumulative sales of over 1,400 units worldwide. The SX-ACE, like all models in the SX Series, is a supercomputer developed to provide both high performance and ease of use. It has achieved the world’s fastest application performance per core (Note 3), and even with a smaller number of usable cores, it has achieved higher performance.

Primary features of the new SX-ACE include the following:

1. World’s fastest core performance and highest memory bandwidth per core

The SX-ACE inherits the vector architecture used in the SX Series. This architecture realizes high performance and memory bandwidth with a single core. In the SX-ACE this architecture has been further enhanced, and a low power consumption design has been realized.  As a result, the SX-ACE has achieved the world’s fastest single core performance, with a processing speed of 64 GFLOPS (1 GFLOP = 1 billion floating point operations per second). It also has the world’s leading single core memory bandwidth of 64 GB/s (GBytes per second.) With this speed, the SX-ACE attains the high performance needed for complicated scientific computations. Moreover, this can be achieved even when using a small number of processors, compared to a scalar type parallel computer that normally requires a large number of processors. The small number of processors also reduces the cost of parallel programming.

The SX-ACE has a newly developed multi-core vector CPU, the first in the SX series. With four high-performance cores mounted on this CPU, the SX-ACE realizes a computing performance of 256 GFLOPS. With the multi-core vector CPU as one node, an ultra high-speed interconnect with a maximum of 8 GB/s in each direction allows a maximum of 64 node cards to be mounted on each rack. The SX-ACE can thereby achieve a rack computing performance of 16 TFLOPS (TFLOP one trillion floating-point operations per second) and a memory bandwidth of 16 Tbytes per second. With a maximum of eight racks, 512 nodes can be connected and a peak computing performance of 131 TFLOPS. Furthermore, with a 10 Gbit Ethernet, several cluster systems can be connected, and the scale of the system can be expanded through multi-clustering.

2. Space saving and low power consumption through state of the art, high density design and cooling technology

The SX-ACE has a single chip processor with four high performance cores, memory controllers, network controllers, and I/O interfaces. The chip is mounted on a small 11 cm x 37 cm node card, reducing power consumption to one-tenth and floor space requirements to one-fifth that of existing SX-9 models.

3. Computing environment emphasizing ease of use

With the SX-ACE, the application assets that users have long been accustomed to can be used just as they are, and they can be operated at high speeds. In addition, through realization of the world’s fastest core speed, the SX-ACE can be used for high computing performance with a small number of cores, compared to the large number required before. It also features a system that makes programming and performance improvement easy for supercomputer application developers and researchers. For the application development environment, NEC offers program development support functions as well as compilers and libraries that maximize SX-ACE performance.

Going forward, in addition to the supercomputer domain, the SX-ACE’s follow-up system is targeting segments that require high performance next generation servers, such as big data analysis and industrial applications.

NEC exhibits the SX-ACE at SC13, the world’s largest international conference and exhibition for supercomputing, held from November 17-22, Denver, Colorado.